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Carmaker Sales Growth Accelerates
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German-US automaker DaimlerChrysler yesterday announced its first-quarter car sales in China grew by half, mainly due to interest in Mercedes-Benz vehicles.


The group sold 8,432 cars in China from January to March this year, up 52 percent from a year earlier, DaimlerChrysler (China) Investment Co Ltd told China Daily.


China sales of Mercedes-Benz cars surged by 68 percent year-on-year to 5,856 units during the period.


Sales of Mercedes S-Class sedans in China exceeded 2,300 units in the first three months, maintaining its leadership in the luxury car segment, DaimlerChrysler said.


But it declined to reveal how many locally made Mercedes sedans were sold during the period.


DaimlerChrysler's joint venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Corp started to assemble Mercedes E-Class sedans in January.


Sales from its Chrysler unit in China rose by 25 percent to 2,576 vehicles in the first quarter from a year ago, with deliveries of the 300C sedan doubling.


The 300C will be assembled at the joint venture in Beijing from later this year, according to a plan outlined by Chrysler last year.


China contributed the bulk of sales for DaimlerChrysler's Northeast Asia operations, also including South Korea.


In the first quarter of this year, the world's fifth-biggest automaker sold 11,390 cars, an increase of 44 percent.


"This year DaimlerChrysler will launch several new models from Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler and Jeep in Northeast Asia.


"Strong demand for our vehicles reinforces our ambitious plans to continue to localize our operations in the region," said Till Becker, chairman of the group's Northeast Asia operations.


Despite growth in China, DaimlerChrysler still trails far behind many other global automakers in the world's No 3 car market.


Volkswagen said earlier this month that its China sales gained 40 percent to reach 164,339 cars in the first quarter of this year.


(China Daily April 14, 2006)


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